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Job Seekers, Recruiters Frustrated By Lack of Openings, Qualified Applicants

Job Seekers, Recruiters Frustrated By Lack of Openings, Qualified Applicants

Scott Nishimura, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Texas

It’s no secret that in today’s down jobs market, job seekers are firing off resumes into every digital hole they can find – and employers are feeling the pain.

Take Liane Janovsky, a Fort Worth employment lawyer who had an opening for a paralegal this spring and posted it for free on Craigslist to save money.

“I got a hundred applications within a week,” Janovsky said. “About a dozen qualified candidates. I had waitresses, grocery baggers, people who’d never been a paralegal.”

Where did these hopeful but unqualified job seekers get the idea that they had a shot? “They wanted it,” Janovsky said.

Today’s frustrated job seekers – confronting heavy competition, a short supply of jobs and a massive wall of career sites and search engines separating them from recruiters and hiring managers – are shotgunning out resumes, often for positions they’re not qualified for. On the other side of the wall, equally frustrated recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with applications and the legal liability of having to account for their decisions.

“A lot of candidates, in their panic, go, ‘I can do that’” when they see an appealing job opening, said Foster Williams, a recruiter and former Verizon hiring manager who co-founded the jobs site with his wife, Cindi. “They have no skills on their resume that match with that position. That creates more frustration for the recruiters.”

Understanding what hiring managers are up against can pay off for job seekers.

Lily Segura has been on both sides of the wall.

As vice president of human resources for a Fort Worth construction company, she was a two-woman act – “me and a payroll assistant” – handling all aspects of human resources.

She typically advertised openings on the company’s Web site, going to the big boards such as Monster only for clerical jobs.

Even at that, it wasn’t unusual to receive 200 resumes for an opening. Some job seekers e-mailed resumes to all the company’s officers, who routed them back to Segura.

“Sometimes, you get the first hundred resumes, and you cut it off,” said Segura, who lost her job this spring and is now looking for work. “You’ve got to find somebody in that 100.”

Williams, one of the leaders at the popular Southlake Focus Group and Fort Worth Career Search Network job search groups, says job seekers should have a minimum 75 percent match with the criteria listed for a job.

“Depending on the position, you can go down to 75 percent,” said Williams, whose Web site feeds the job networks with free job posts. “But have at least 75 percent of those skills that you have done in your job, and have them evident on your resume so that they can pull you out of the stack and put you in the viable-candidates stack and give you a call.”

Keywords Are Key

Career experts advise job seekers to load their resumes with keywords related to their experience and skills so that computerized “applicant tracking systems” at large employers and big sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder are likely to pick them up.

Such systems allow recruiters to use keywords culled from the resumes to pull out potential candidates from the large volume of applicants.

An IT manager who loads her resumes with keywords such as PMP, or project management professional, should be spotted faster than a candidate who mentions those words just a few times, Williams says.

“It’s almost like a human eye,” Williams said. “If it’s in neon lights, I’m going to see it quicker than the resume that’s on brown.”

Even the science of resume building is changing quickly.

Two weeks ago, Monster, the largest career site, purchased Trovix, a leading provider of search technology, and revamped the way the site searches resumes and matches them to job posts.

Scott Nishimura, 817-390-7808

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